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History & Geography of Bradford County by Heverly
Bradford County PA
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Chapter 21 - Standing Stone

History & Geography of Bradford County

By Clement F. Heverly

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Standing Stone

By Clement F. Heverly 

(Transcribed by Robert Towner, 

Standing Stone was so called from a very remarkable stone, which stands in the river near the right bank.  The locality was long known to the Indians as Achsin-nink, signifying “where there is a large stone“.  The original township twenty-five miles square, was granted, 1774, to David Smith by the Susquehanna Company.  It lay on both sides of the river and included the lowlands of Rummerfield, Standing Stone, Frenchtown and Macedonia.  A considerable part of this territory had been surveyed on Pennsylvania warrants in 1763.

Geographical.-Standing Stone, comprising 1-68 of the area of Bradford county, is bounded north by Herrick and Wysox, east by Herrick, south cast by Wyalusing, west by Wysox and Asylum, being separated from the latter by the Susquehanna river.  The surface is generally low and level along the river, back of which, it gradually to high tablelands.  Between the Wysox hills in the north and Frenchtown mountains in the south, the hand slopes to the south and is drained by Rummerfield creek in the east and Fitch, or Vought, creek in the west.  Tamarack pond is near the center of the township.  A primeval forest of pine, black-walnut, hickory, and oak covered the low-lands, and hemlock, pine, beech, birch, maple and other timber, the hulls.  Among the hills and glens were the haunts of bears, wolves and panthers, and on the ridges, deer in abundance.  Brook trout were plentiful in the creeks, and shad and other fish countless in the river.  The township has an area of seventeen square miles amid was formed from Herrick, Wyalusing and Wysox in 1841; population 496 in 1920.

History:  Indian Domain.-Standing Stone was long the abode of the red man and at a remote period lie appears to have had a considerable village on the flats adjacent to the river.  The Great Warrior-path down the Susquehanna traversed the township.  Over this path Colonel Hartley marched in retiring from his daring raid into the Indian country, 1778.  General Sullivan's land forces followed and enlarged the old trail from Wyoming in his expedition against the Indians, 1779.  On the flats opposite Standing Stone rock, General Sullivan and the main part of his army encamped on the night of August 8-9.  The first white people to have ever beheld the picturesqueness of Standing Stone were the German Palatinates from the Schoharie Valley, who passed down the Susquehanna, driving their horses and cattle along the river bank, in 1723.

The pioneers:  Lemuel Fitch, a native of Colchester, Connecticut, in the spring of 1774 with James Wells laid out Standing Stone, and in the same year moved upon the lot hue had selected for himself.  Here he remained until Decem-ber 1777, when he was captured by the Tories and Indians, who plundered his house and carried off everything of value.  Mr. Fitch died in captivity.  He had married Rebecca Con-stock.  They had no children.  Mrs. Fitch afterwards mar-ried a Mr. Gromet.

Anthony Rummerfield, a blacksmith by occupation, came from the Mohawk region in or before 1774 and located at the mouth of Rummerfield creek.  He made considerable improvement, but left during the Revolutionary troubles.  After the war lie removed to Catlierinestown, N.Y.  In 1794 he sold to Matthias Hollenback, “a piece of land near Standing Stone, including the falls of a creek, which flows into the Susquehanna, with improvement and mill-work erected by him."
Henry Birney, a native of Ireland, was an early settler at Plymouth.  In 1775 he removed to Standing Stone.  Upon the breaking out of the Revolutionary war, he moved his family back to Plymouth and himself entered the Continental army. In 1791 he returned with his family and remained until 1812 when he sold his farm to Jonathan Stevens and removed to Scioto, Ohio, where he died at an advanced age. He had married Rachel Shears, who died 1804, aged 57 years. Their children were John, Sarah (Mrs. Peter Loop), Rebecca (Mrs. Peter Matthews), Eleanor (Mrs. Myer), Hannah (Mrs. Judge Miller) and Mary (Mrs. John Gordon).
Richard Fitzgerald and William Huyck were the first to make Standing Stone their permanent home.  The former had been a resident of Schodac, N.Y.  While living there he was drafted for the old French war, and for a year was on garrison duty at Ft. Oswego. William Huyck was of German parentage. His mother died when he was an infant, and her sister, Mrs. Robert Fitzgerald, reared and educated him in both English and German. Mr. Huyck came to Standing Stone with his uncle, and of their advent into the county and what followed, he says:

In the year 1776 our family immigrated from the county of Albany, N.Y., and went on as far as Springfield, at the head of Otsego lake. There we waited until the lake was clear of ice. My uncle Fitzgerald bought a large batteau, and we moved on down the river with con-siderable difficult proceeding to Standing Stone." Here they were successfully engaged in farming until the early part of December 1777, when a party of about 20 refugees came to my uncle's house, having the Indian, Hopkins, and his lieutenant, Parshall Terry, with them, plundered the house of an abundance; putting it into a boat of our own, proceeded up the river with their booty, driving off four cows, young cattle, 18 sheep and three good horses. Two other families above us had shared the same fate, and Mr. Fitch, a neighbor, was not only plundered, but himself captured and never returned." To this , Elisha Harding adds that the party took Mr. Fitzgerald as far as Wysox, where they bound him to a flax-brake and declared they would break every bone in his body unless he would hurrah for King George.  The honest old Dutchman replied : "I am an old man and cannot live long at any rate.  I had rather die now, a friend to my country, than live longer and die a Tory.''  They released him.
Mr. Fitzgerald gathered what effects the enemy had left him, and with his family started in a canoe down the river. Their progress was slow on account of the cold and the thickly floating ice . When they reached Black-Walnut they found the river frozen over and they could proceed no further. Taking one of the deserted houses, there they remained until spring when in the month of March, with other Whigs, living in the neighborhood, they retired to Wyoming. Two fat hogs, which the plunderers did not discover, and the corn they could not take away, afforded the family subsistence. They remained at Wyoming until the battle, in which Mr. Huyck served in the ranks and escaped, while old Mr. Fitzgerald remained in the fort.  After the battle with other fugitives they made their way to Paxton where they remained until October, them returned to Wyoming.

Mr. Huyck continued in the military service and joined the army under General Sullivan.  In this expedition Mr. Fitzgerald was one of the guides. After the establishment of peace the family returned to their old plantation at Standing Stone.  Here Mr. Fitzgerald died in 1789 and his wife, Nellie, 1814, aged nearly 100 years. They had no chil-dren. Mr. Huyck inherited and occupied the homestead.  He married Margaret Westbrook. Their children were Ellen (Mrs. David Vought), Blondens (Mrs. David Eiklor), Jane (Mrs. Benjamin Brown), Richard, Abraham, Isaac, John and Anna (Mrs. Nathaniel Moger).  Mr. Huyck died 1849, aged 86 years.

Others Before the Revolution.- Next above Mr. Rummerfield was Simon Spalding (see founder of Sheshequin), who came up from Wyoming in 1775, remained a year, then leased to Conrad Sill, who built a house and barn and made other improvements.  Above Mr. Fitch at various places be-low the York narrows were Charles Angers, John Pensil, Adam Simmons, old Van Alstine and three sons, all of whom had located just before the war and proved to be Tories.  They were driven away, going to Canada.

Daniel Holley came to Standing Stone about 1790, set-tling the Achatias Stevens place.  Here he died between 1799 and 1804, his widow surviving him and occupying the place many years. Mrs. Holley was originally Sarah Westbrook.  She was at Wyoming at the time of the battle, and on Jacob's plains during the great ice flood, 1784. The children of Daniel and Sarah Holley were Daniel, Richard, James, John, Elizabeth (Mrs. John Dyer), Benjamin and Diana.
Mrs. Ellen (Race) Vaughan, widow of Richard Vaughan settled near the mouth of Rummerfield creek in 1792, where she and her eldest son, John, died.  Her other children were William, Phoebe (Mrs. William Eddy), Robert, Rhoda (Mrs. Daniel Martin), Anna (Mrs. Daniel Coolbaugh), Polly (Mrs. Walter Seaman), Justus, Richard, and Elias, who settled on Vaughan hill.

Barnabas Clark, said to have been a native of Ireland, came to Standing Stone soon after 1790, settling in the Fitzgerald neighborhood.  Here he died previous to 1804.  His wife was Polly Manley and their children: Mehitable (Mrs. John Birney), Henry and Eliphalet.

Peter Miller, a Revolutionary soldier, came to Standing Stone as a settler in 1790.  He died in 1823.  His wife was a Miss Abbott.  They had no children.
John Gordon settled in Standing Stone about 1803.  He was a son of James Gordon, who was one of the earliest settlers in Frenchtown and established a ferry there before the arrival of the French.  John married Mary, daughter of Henry Birney and lived near his father-in-law.  He spent his days in clearing and improving his land and conducting a distillery.  His children were Ellen (Mrs. Harris Mur-ray), Weltha (Mrs. Chas. Rockwell), Rebecca (Mrs. Albert Newell), George, Jane (Mrs. George Hollenback), Rachel (Mrs. Harry A. Hollenback), Sally (Mrs. John Taylor), John, Samuel, James, Hiram, and Polly.
The Hermit.-The first settlers found ensconced in a little glen up Rummerfield creek, a strange man, who spoke a foreign tongue and whose history could not be learned.  lie lived alone in a little cabin and subsisted by hunting and fishing .  ''lie wore a  marten-skin cap, fox-skin vest and outer clothes smoke-leather dressed.  How long he had lived there, what his name, or whence he came always remained a mystery.  When a tottering old man, a bounty was provided by the settlers, and at his request, when the end came, he was buried in the glen where he had dwelt and enjoyed nature

Ezekiel Vergason, said to have been from Connecticut, said to have been the first hill settler.  He located on the Roof place.  His wife was Sarah Jones.  They had twelve children, all sons  Both he and his wife and sons, Andrew and Jabez, died upon the Roof farm and were buried there.
Henry Vankuren came from Orange county, N. Y., 1808, settling the Fisher place.  Here his wife died, 1814, and he subsequently removed front the neighborhood.  He had sons, James and John.

Jacob Primer, a colored man , was an early comer.  He was an old-time fiddler and a favorite with the young people in furnishing music at their dancing parties.
Benjamin Brown, son of Thomas Brown of Wyalusing, married Jane, daughter of Wm. Huyck, and became a resident of Standing Stone about 1810.  Here he died, 1834 aged fifty years.  His children were Guy, Preceptor, Lord, Belinda (Mrs. John Terwilliger) , Ellen (Mrs. Harry Clark) , Collins, Allen, Charles E., Sarah (Mrs. Austin Frost) and John H.

David Eiklor, son of Frederick Eiklor, a Rome Pioneer , was also aim early resident of the town.  He married Blondens Huyck, finally removing to Huron, Ohio.
Jonathan Stevens, a native of Connecticut and patriot of the Revolution, in 1805, located at Wyalusing where he en-gaged in keeping a store and house of public entertainment until 1812, when he removed to Standing Stone.  lie was a man of superior abilities and performed many important public duties, being many years a deputy surveyor, Justice--of-the-peace, Representative and twenty-three years an Asso-ciate Judge.  He married Eleanor Adams and reared a notable family.  Their children were Albegence, Asa, Seth, Simon, Lucy (Mrs. Chas. F. Homet), Jonathan, Sarah (Mrs. Richard Huyck) and Eleanor.  Judge Stevens died, 1850, aged eighty-six years.

Joel Tuttle, an early comer to Ulster, in l812.  Located permanently at Standing Stone at the lower end of the narrows.  His wife was Rebecca Pierce and their children: Alfred, J Harvey, Alby, Minerva (Mrs. Anson Goff) , Harriet (Mrs. John Bennett), Jane (Mrs. Herman Clark), Rebecca (Mrs. Geo. Hopkins), Rachel (Mrs. Chester Kingsley) and Celestia (Mrs. Wesley Vannest).

Other Prominent Families: 1813.-Samuel  D. Goff, a Revolutionary soldier from Connecticut; Cherick Westbrook, patriot  of the Revolution. 1816, Cornelius Ennis, Revolu-tionary soldier from  Sussex county, N.J.; George Vanness from Sussex county, N.J., being followed by his brothers, John, Daniel and Isaac Whitfield; Henry Hibbard.  1825, John Terwilliger from Orange county , N.Y.  1826, Henry, Isaac and Samuel Huff, brothers from Sussex county, N.J.  1827  Henry W. Tracy, merchant.  1828, Jacob Mingle, a Jersey Dutchman.  1829, Ezekiel Griffis from Susquehanna county.  1883, Peter C. Ward, merchant.  1835, Isaac Ful-ford, a blacksmith  front Sussex county N. J ; John Taylor from Wyalusing.  After 1840 the Crawns, Roofs and Woods.

First Events.-The first child born in Standing Stone, of which there is any record, was Ellen, daughter of William Huyck, February 3, 1788.  The first death  that of Robert Fitzgerald, early part of 1789.  Evidently the first to bring his bride into the wilderness was William Huyck, who mar-ried Margaret Westbrook, after his return from the war.  The first to become identified with religious work was Mrs. Nellie Fitzgerald, who was received into full communion with the Church of Christ at Wysox, July 4, 1795.  For a century and a quarter the only means of communication and transportation with the cast side of the river was by boats and ferries.
The Standing Stone, which had been a landmark for ages before the advent of white man, stands on the west bank of the Susquehanna river, opposite the Standing Stone flats.  From actual measurement, the stone is twenty-one feet wide at the water-line and tapers front four feet to three feet in thick-ness.  Its greatest height above the water-line is twenty-five feet, sloping on the opposite side to seventeen and one-third feet.  The distance across the top is fourteen feet.  Estimating that the stone stands ten feet below the water-line its weight would be 168 tons.  This rock mass, if perpendicular position, has attracted wide attention as one of the puzzling things in physical science.

Patriotism.-Soldiers in the different wars: Revolution.-Henry Birney, Cornelius Ennis, Lemuel Fitch, Robert Fitz-gerald, Samuel D. Goff, William  Huyck , Peter Miller, Jona-than Stevens Cherick Westbrook, John Wood. War of 1812-John Birney, Eliphalet Clark, Albegence Stevens , William Vaughan.  Civil War.-Furnished 78 soldiers, of whom six were killed in battle, one died in rebel prison and three of dis-ease.  Spanish-American War.-Sent four soldiers.  World War.-Contributed eighteen soldiers.

Favorite Sons: Congress, Henry W. Tracy ; Representa-tives, Jonathan Stevens, Henry W. Tracy; Associated Judge, Jonathan Stevens; Sheriff, William Griffis.  County Treas-urer, William Griffis; County Commissioner, Myron KingsIey; Jury Commissioners, John R. Fulford, Galleon L Vanness.  County Auditors; F S . Whitman, Martin P. Brennan.

Villages.-Standing Stone and Rummerfield are small villages in the southern part of the township along the Susque-hanna with stations on the line of time Lehigh Valley railroad. They have long been the centers of trade , and important ship-ping points since the (Jays of the North Branch Canal, which traversed the township.  Flourishing enterprises that once existed at both places had their day and are no more.  An iron bridge, 894 feet long, erected by the county in 1908, spans the river at Standing Stone.  The Standing Stone post-office was established, 1826, with Jonathan. Stevens, postmaster, and a post-office at Rummerfield, 1833 Eli Gibbs, postmaster.